Researchers are learning something about aging they consider strange- how we think about aging can determine how our bodies react. This finding can be a good way for us to age in a healthier way. We have a lot to overcome because the stereotype associated with aging is overwhelmingly negative.
Psychologists and neuroscientists are working on implementing ways that we as aging boomers can flex our minds into more positive thought patterns which will result in a long term result of feeling better.
Four Ways To Change Negative Stereotypes
- Differentiate Myths from Facts
The first step is to recognize how being negative impacts us. Researchers point out that there are positives associated with aging. For example, being called an elder statesman or a spry matriarch says Dana Kotter-Gruen, a professor at Duke University. However, “in most Weetern societies, the perception of aging and age is predominantly negative.”
Studies show that people with negative thoughts and beliefs have shakier handwriting, poorer memories, higher rates of cardiac disease, and lower odds of recovering from a severe disability.
The reality is that older people have greater relationships, and those at work make fewer errors than those that are younger. Also, research shows that memory can be enhanced in older age. We need to be aware that how we think can affect what happens to us.
2. Identify Stereotypes in Everyday Living
Professor Levy and other researchers looked at 84 Facebook groups that included descriptions of people aged 60+. Their findings: negativity was predominate. 27% of site descriptions made older adults childlike and 37% felt that older adults should be banned from public activities like shopping.
It is suggested they we take a test published online by Harvard University called The Implicit Association Test. It measures bias by quickly assessing test takers association of pleasant and unpleasant words with young and old faces. Try it.
Also, try not to automatically associate physical and health problems to the aging process. Type 2 diabetes is not associated with age, but with lifestyle. Someone. In their 20’s may forget something but rarely correlate it,to having a young moment.
There are associations that are trying to break the mold of stereotypes one being the ChangingAging group which is involved in a show called, “Age of Disruption Tour” that blends music with lectures on how to overcome negative stereotypes!
3. Replace Negstive Thoughts With Positive Ones
Train yourself to think positively and try taking a coursenthstneill teach you how to overcome your biases!
4. Accept the Aging Process
We all will envounter our personal obstacles as we age. However, feeling satisfied can help ease what we cannot change. For example, we may not be able to run as fast or as far as we did when younger, but we can find find ways of adapting and finding a new sport outlet.
Pits been said that if we identify with a generation that we are proud of we will feel better. So, baby boomers go out and feel good about being part of a generation that has a positive identity and will be important to future generations!